Department of Dental Anesthesiology

Dental anesthesiology is the discipline in dentistry that manages pain and anxiety through the use of local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia. In the United States, more patients receive local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia at the dentist’s office than anywhere in the health care system.

The Department of Dental Anesthesiology educates graduate, predoctoral, and dental hygiene students in the management of pain, fear, and anxiety associated with dental treatment. The department also serves clinics throughout the school by providing a broad array of anesthesia services for general clinic patients and patients with special needs and acts as first-responders for medical emergencies occurring within the school. 

Faculty in the department are dentist anesthesiologists trained to provide the entire spectrum of anesthetic services ranging from local anesthesia through general anesthesia for a wide range of dental and surgical procedures.

The Department of Dental Anesthesiology offers a CODA accredited three-year residency program for qualified graduates who wish to obtain a certificate in dental anesthesiology. The major goal of the program is to train dentist anesthesiologists in all areas of pain and anxiety control techniques used in dentistry. Upon completion of the residency program, graduates are well prepared to take the American Dental Board of Anesthesiology examination for Board Certification. Dentist anesthesiologists have a myriad of practice opportunities, which include the provision of anesthesia services for a multitude of patient needs. They are also trained educators able to pursue careers in dental anesthesiology education.

The department also offers externships for third- and fourth-year predoctoral students who are interested in post-doctoral studies in dental anesthesiology. The clinical anesthesiology educational programs apply the fundamental knowledge acquired from basic science instruction to patient treatment needs including pre-operative evaluation; the pharmacology of analgesics and sedatives; clinical therapeutics and administration procedures; and the management of medical emergencies.


In addition, the predoctoral curriculum includes course work in the areas of local anesthetics, nitrous oxide conscious-sedation, advanced pain and anxiety control, medical emergency management, basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, and internal medicine for dentistry.


The Department offers a dental anesthesiology selective in which predoctoral students are trained to provide intravenous moderate sedation for dental procedures performed on their classmates’ patients.

The Department of Dental Anesthesiology is committed to the advancement of dental anesthesiology for improved patient care. The department is dedicated to maximizing patient comfort and safety by employing state-of-the-art outpatient anesthesia techniques, evaluating current and investigational anesthetic agents, and creating innovative procedures that will be used in the future.

Research has focused on the clinical efficacy and safety of anesthetics when used in healthy and medically-compromised patients. Areas of investigation include conscious sedation, postoperative pain management, and local anesthesia.


Interim Chair
Dr. Joseph Giovannitti, Jr.
University of Pittsburgh
School of Dental Medicine
G89 Salk Hall
3501 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: (412) 648-8609

Fax: (412) 648-2591
Email: jag74@pitt.edu